Universities around the UK are set to enjoy a funding boost of £700k over the next three years to support engineers in entrepreneurship competitions.
The money will be provided by the Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) charity, which is backed by Lord Sainsbury. Around 50 different universities throughout the country will share the prize fund, with the money used to bolster existing competitions where infrastructure is already in place. In addition to competition funds, winners also receive mentoring and invitations to EIBF networking events.
“Inspiring innovation is just one reason for offering financial support to existing business education programmes,” said EIBF president, David Falzani.
“Research shows that introducing business education to young engineers makes them better engineers, makes them more employable and effective in the workplace, and it is better for the profession and for the UK economy. It does so by teaching students the process of finding solutions to real-life problems, as well as soft skills including leadership, teamwork, collaboration and negotiation which are essential for career progression.”
Launched after a pilot at the University of Nottingham Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Engineers in Business Prize Fund was rolled out in 2018, resulting in awards to the 22 universities. A key criterion for a successful application is a university illustrating how it will engage with a significant number of engineering students or increase the level of participation over previous years’ competitions.
“At Bristol we used the EIB Prize Fund to enhance support for engineers through our existing New Enterprise Competition,” said Neil Coles, assistant director of Careers and Service at the University of Bristol and a director of Enterprise Education UK.
“The flexibility to filter through the existing competition makes it easy for us as educators to target the most enterprising engineers.”